Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways To Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

It looks like an abandoned gas station at a busy crossroads on the city’s far southeastern side will finally see some new life.  The former Mobil station at East Brighton Ave. and East Seneca Turnpike closed more than two years ago, and the city has been trying to redevelop the site.    But Finance Commissioner David Clifford says until now, a legal technicality got in the way…

Scott Willis / WAER News

About a dozen members of the Syracuse Peace Council, Green Party, and other groups braved the single digit temperatures Tuesday to urge President Obama to follow through on his promise to veto legislation that would extend the Keystone XL pipeline.    The Syracuse rally was one of many held around the U.S. and Canada, which called for a focus and investment in renewable energy.  Wayne Chauncey of Nedrow says extraction of fossil fuel from the soil is a waste of time…

Scott Willis

  

Senator Chuck Schumer urged the New York Jets to continue holding summer training camp workouts in Cortland, during a press conference on Monday at Syracuse University's Ensley Athletic Center.

SUNY Cortland has hosted training camp for the Jets since 2009, when then-head coach Rex Ryan moved it from Hofstra University on Long Island.  But the team recently fired Ryan as well as general manager, John Idzik. 

Schumer said there isn't any agreement in place for future training camps.

www.dec.ny.gov

A vitamin B deficiency among predator fish is now affecting steelhead trout returning to the tributaries of Lake Ontario, and is causing a surprisingly high adult mortality rate.    Section Head for Great Lakes Fisheries Steve LaPan says they first received reports from fishing guides on the Salmon River in Oswego County at the end of November…

Gary Varvel/Indianapolis Star / hereandnow.wbur.org

A free speech expert at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School says it’s a sad state of affairs when so many people are targeted at a satirical Paris newspaper for freedom of expression.  Roy Gutterman is director of S-U’s Tully Center for Free Speech.

"Unfortunately, it looks like it's a trend.  Extremists dealing with content they disagree with.  Violence is no way to answer rhetoric or offensive jokes or anything like that.  But, that seems to be our world today."

 He says most attacks on the press are more isolated kidnappings or killings of one or two reporters, but very rarely a mass murder.  Gutterman says it could have a chilling effect on journalists and cartoonists across the globe.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Two elderly Onondaga County Residents have died and many others are hospitalized due to an outbreak of the flu.  County health officials say state lab tests confirm 88 cases, or twice as many as this time last year.  But that number is likely only a fraction of actual illness in the community.  The primary virus is Influenza "A" H3N2, which is different than the vaccine and the reason for the spike in illness.   Still, Health Commissioner Doctor Indu Gupta says residents should continue to get inoculated, especially the very old and very young.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The efforts of more than 2,500 runners were recognized today after they raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars in memory of a first grader from Baldwinsville who died of leukemia 20 years ago.    The parents of Paige Yeomans Arnold presented a check to Upstate’s Golisano Children’s Hospital for the $224,000 dollars raised from Paige’s Butterfly Run and other events this year.  Upstate CEO Dr. John McCabe says the money will go towards pediatric cancer research and other support programs.  

citizenscampaign.org

  After years of studies, moratoriums, and intense lobbying on both sides, top state health and environmental officials today recommended against hydraulic fracturing in New York state.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Elected officials from Central New York and statewide are calling for an extended moratorium on hydraulic fracturing after they say mounting scientific evidence shows additional risks and harms of the controversial gas drilling technique.    About 140 members of the group Elected officials to Protect New York signed and sent a letter to Governor Cuomo after he announced a clear decision on fracking could come by the end of the month.   The group would like to see a three to five year extension of the moratorium.  Julie Huntsman is co-coordinator of the group and Town of Otsego council member.  She says they’re grateful for the governor’s restraint thus far…

 About 50 medical students of all backgrounds at Upstate Medical University Friday held a silent demonstration to call attention police brutality and judicial injustices that target black Americans.  The students wore their white coats and held signs saying “We can’t breath” and “white coats for black lives”.

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